WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Asylum seekers and other detainees inside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities have launched protests over health concerns.
Hunger strikes have popped up around the country as a way for those who are in custody to voice their fear regarding the spreading of COVID-19 within the facilities.
“We’re seeing that people are not even being provided with the fundamental CDC mandated requirements,” said Brian Griffey of the human rights organization Amnesty International. He along with other AI investigators claimed the facilities do not have enough soap or sanitizers. Many immigration lawyers have reported that ICE is not even isolating detainees who are sick.
According to Griffey, ICE misled the public by claiming it is following procedure and continues to have its facilities locked down.
“It’s transferring thousands, [and] thousands of detainees between facilities across state lines, which is spreading this infection like wildfire,” Griffey said.
In Oregon, Senator Jeff Merkley said President Donald Trump continues to underperform.
“The same incompetent, unacceptable, outrageous–in the context of this pandemic–behavior by this administration,” Merkley said. He added that the lack of transparency behind ICE’s operations has made it especially challenging to verify what is happening at the facilities.
ICE refuted all the allegations made against it. The agency added that more than 160 people have been released from custody because they were deemed too high of a risk or had other underlying medical issues.